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September 29, 2012

Otsego County Economic Council became active for the 1932 elections

Regardless of your political affiliation, a website worth looking at is that of the U.S. National Debt Clock, www.usdebtclock.org. The speed of the numbers changing is one that may make a few jaws drop. The deficit and economy will certainly be growing on the minds of many in the coming weeks, during what has been called the worst recession since the Great Depression.

People were concerned about government spending during the Great Depression, just like today. It played a role in the 1932 presidential election. The concerns prompted the formation of an organization in New York, called the State Economic Council. Smaller groups formed in each county.

The Oneonta Star reported on Thursday, Aug. 18, 1932, that there would be a public meeting on Friday evening at Oneonta High School, then on Academy Street. The speaker was the Hon. Merwin K. Hart of Utica, president of the State Economic Council.

“Mr. Hart is coming here to tell what is being done in over 40 other counties of the state, to bring the taxpayers, hitherto quite silent, but important partners in the business of government, into one effective organization so that the voice of those who will pay the cost may be heard when new bureaus or increased appropriations are asked.

“The proposed organization is not being fostered in support of any party, clique or individual and its sole purpose is to effect such economies, especially in state and federal affairs as will give relief to taxpayers and not impair efficiency in administration, opportunities for which are believed numerous.”

About 150 taxpayers attended the Friday evening meeting, with representatives from about 10 towns across Otsego County.

“We have long been used to talking about billions of dollars,” Mr. Hart told the audience. “Down to 1929 these billions represented profits or increases in wealth. Since then they have represented deficits in government budgets.

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